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Car Bomb Kills At Least 44 In Kurdish-Held Area Of Syria

A street in Qamishli, a city in northern Syria that sits along the border with Turkey, was hit by a powerful car bomb Wednesday, killing at least 44 people and devastating a residential area, according to Syria's state-run media. Nearby buildings were severely damaged, collapsing walls and floors.

A video taken shortly after the bombing shows a scene of a car burning in a rubble-filled street, as bystanders try to help the wounded and look for survivors. In one portion of the video, a bucket of water is thrown on the fire.

Syrian public media outlet SANA reports that hospitals in Qamishli, located in Hasaka province, have received 44 bodies and 140 injured people — and that the death toll will likely rise.

According to monitor group the Syrian Observatory For Human Rights, the attack targeted al-Asayesh, the Kurdish security and intelligence agency, in a report that has been backed by an ISIS claim of responsibility.

As Reuters reports, "Kurdish forces control much of Hasaka province, after capturing vast areas from the jihadist group last year."

According to the United Nations, more than 280,000 people have been killed since Syria's civil war began five years ago. Millions more have fled the country, seeking safety elsewhere.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.